Can I reserve embryos for a later time?

Patients can reserve embryos in the American Embryo Adoption Agency program. Once the patients have chosen the blastocysts for two cycles, they can complete the administrative and financial process for both cycles and then begin their first treatment cycle. The selected unused blastocyst(s) will be held and monitored in our sophisticated cryopreservation laboratories. If a pregnancy occurs as a result of the first cycle, her reserved blastocyst will be stored for 18 months from the day of the initiation of the first treatment cycle so that she can attempt a second pregnancy. For patients who desire a larger family, a similar arrangement can be made to reserve blastocysts for three cycles. If the patient wants to make arrangements to reserve blastocysts for three cycles, this can be done using the same protocol described earlier. For the third cycle only, and because our twining rate is approximately 10%-15% per cycle, patients who have twin live-births at 34 weeks gestation or later during the second cycle can elect one of two options: 1) Participate in the program to attempt another pregnancy within the 18 months time frame already established, or 2) choose the “34 week twin live birth exemption” and not have a third transfer. If the patient chooses the exemption, she will notify the American Embryo Adoption Agency by certified mail within 60 days of the birth of her twins that she is cancelling the third embryo adoption cycle and she will be refunded for the unexecuted 3rd cycle except for the embryo maintenance fee.

Facts & Myths

Myth: Embryo quality decreases or they expire the longer they are stored.

Fact: Embryos are perpetually viable as long as embryos are stored correctly in liquid nitrogen. At the American Embryo Adoption Agency, we have had numerous births after storage periods between 15 – 20 years.


Myth: Genetic parents could change their mind and obtain custody of the child(ren) born.

Fact: The contract agreement and relinquishment forms used are legally binding between the adoptive family and the donor family. Under current law, once the embryos have been physically transferred into the recipient mother’s uterus, the genetic parents have no legal claim to any resulting children.  The birth certificate will list the woman giving birth as the mother of the baby and, if she is married, her husband as the father of the baby.


Myth: Using donated embryos increases the chances of the woman contracting a sexually transmitted disease or giving birth to a child with an increased chance of genetic defect.

Fact:   The FDA requires all females and males who donate their embryos to be tested for sexually transmitted diseases prior to the IVF cycle where the embryos were created, as well as at least six months after the embryos are frozen. To date, there has not been any spread of STDs from the use of donated embryos. Birth defects are no more common with this technique than with standard IVF and are predicted to be no greater than in the general population. If fact, the embryo donation process includes such extensive screening and options for genetic testing, that you are more able to detect possible complications than in standard conception and pregnancy.


Myth: Offering embryos for adoption prevents waiting adoptive children from being adopted.

Fact: Traditional infant adoption numbers have declined significantly since the 1970’s and currently only 1.7% of single pregnant women release their child for adoption. Most adoption agencies have more couples waiting for infants than there are placements to be made.


Myth: Children from embryo adoption could inadvertently meet their sibling and possibly marry and reproduce.

Fact: In a large society, the risk is negligible. It is not any higher than would be found in a closed/anonymous traditional adoption. Donating or adopting embryos out-of-state will reduce the risk even more.


Myth: Using donated embryos increases the chances of a multiple pregnancy.

Fact: As with any assisted reproductive technology (ART) procedure, the chance of multiples is higher (10%-15% per embryo transfer) compared to a naturally occurring pregnancy. ASRM states that, “physicians are obligated to provide safe and conscientious decisions regarding treatment which includes the number of embryos transferred.” The ASRM guideline continues with “after careful consideration of each patient’s own unique circumstances…transferring greater or fewer embryos than dictated by these criteria may be justified according to individual clinical conditions, including patient age, embryo quality.” Other factors that could influence the number of embryos transferred include the age of the female embryo or egg donor (if used) and a favorable prognosis. Even by following these guidelines there is no guarantee that a pregnancy with multiples will not occur. The risk is no higher with donated embryos.


Myth: Donated embryos are poor quality so the chance of achieving pregnancy with them is low.

Fact: Most donated embryos come from families who have successfully given birth to a child(ren) and have completed their family; therefore, the donated embryos are from successful ART procedures. There are several different models for embryo grading and all are subjective on the part of the embryologist. Every situation is different but, generally, only viable quality embryos are frozen at the time of the genetic family’s fresh IVF cycle. At the American Embryo Adoption Agency, we have seen not-so-perfect embryos produce beautiful children while exceptionally high-quality ones failed to implant in the uterus.


Myth: Embryo adoption is more expensive than traditional adoption.

Fact: Embryo adoption is considerably less expensive than traditional domestic and international adoption. Costs vary by program but, generally, embryo adoption is from $8000-$16,000 while tradition domestic adoption runs $30,000-$60,000. Some insurance plans may cover part of the testing and lab fees – check with your policy carrier. You may also be eligible to take an itemized deduction for personal medical care expenses paid during the taxable year.


Myth: Donating embryos to research is important to advance medical findings.

Fact: To date, embryonic stem cell research has not resulted in any treatments or cures. All currently used treatments have come from somatic (adult) stem cells.


Myth: We have to be a married, religious couple in order to receive donated embryos.

Fact: Of the non-profit matching agencies/programs, several are faith-based and several are extensions of traditional adoption agencies. At this time, the American Embryo Adoption Agency is the only clinic-based, medically-supervised agency available in the United States. Our Program does not discriminate against patients because of their age, marital status, religious preferences, ethnic background or sexual preference.


How to get started with Embryo Adoption/Embryo Donation?

We encourage you to contact our office to schedule an appointment with our physicians to discuss this and all fertility therapy/treatment options AEAA has to offer. We want to get to know you and hear the dreams you have for your future family. We'd be happy to give you more information and answer any questions you might have. Our objective is to assist every AEAA patient with achieving their goal of starting or enlarging their family. We do our best to ensure patients have a clear understanding of their treatment options, so they are able to choose the option that will best fit their needs. Our highly trained team of professionals is here to answer your questions and assist you with your journey. If you are interested in Embryo Adoption, please feel free to contact us by calling (615) 321-8866.

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